Orlando City’s Justin Meram will lead FC Cincinnati with a new MLS squad in spring 2019. That move will brighten both futures, offering a fresh start for all involved.
Meram has only one goal and three assists against a wealth of boos and threatening messages from Orlando City supporters. That’s a startling plunge from last year’s career-high 13 goals with the Columbus Crew.
The plunge started with Meram seeking the move from Columbus last season. He sensed the impending club move to another city and, with Orlando splashing the cash, saw the move south as an opportunity to challenge for titles and trophies.
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But just a few months later, Orlando already wants Meram moved as they seek a way back to success. His move to lead FC Cincinnati in their first MLS season next spring, then, will make a fresh and welcome start for all concerned. A bid to move Meram to FC Cincinnati looks imminent, with Cincinnati figuring out a way that all parties can start fresh, something that both Orlando and Meram are ostensibly desperate for.
At first, Meram’s move to Orlando City looked perfect. Their game early in the season versus Atlanta United ended with a 2-1 loss but a lot of hope. Meram worked both sides of the field ferociously, he got in three shots, 71 passes, three dribbles and won an aerial. He also scored the team’s only goal.
After that, though, Orlando fell off the edge of the world. They drifted away from Meram, the fans turned on him, and the team even released Meram for three days, including a gameday, for personal reasons.
So far, Meram has made 17 appearances for the club, 14 of them starts. His past performance in MLS — 205 games, scoring 38 goals and assisting 36 — assures that his one goal and three assists don’t fit the type of player that he is, but Orlando will certainly be disappointed with his production.
He’s 29 years old and has demonstrated physical fitness to show he’s got plenty of good, productive seasons left. But this was meant to be his starring season at the heart of a burgeoning Orlando. It didn’t quite work out like that.
While Meram has shouldered some of the blame for Orlando City’s failures, he insists that his playing style and attack system bears no difference from his most successful seasons. It takes a team to win a game and that same team to lose one. And the latter has happened too often in Orlando this season.
With Justin Meram moving to FC Cincinnati, he gets a fresh start to lead and star on a new MLS team. It might well benefit all parties involved.